Pew Sheet

Pew leaflet for the Pentecost Sunday has been published in the appropriate section of this website.

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic and in line with guidelines issued by the College of Bishops all public worship in Scottish Episcopal Churches has been suspended.

Coronavirus update from College of Bishops

STATEMENT FROM THE COLLEGE OF BISHOPS Friday 15 May 2020

The message from the Scottish Government remains ‘stay at home’ and our church buildings remain closed to protect the vulnerable, but thinking is underway to address how the Scottish Episcopal Church will respond to the eventual easing of restrictions on movement.
The First Minister announced last week that lockdown measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Scotland have been extended until a further review on 28 May, and the College of Bishops continues to follow this guidance from the Scottish Government.
The College of Bishops will call on expert advisors to assist with planning, and in due course will issue a set of guidelines to support churches as they prepare for what will and will not be possible as government restrictions are eased.

In a joint statement issued today [15 May], the College of Bishops said:
The College of Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church intends to provide a set of principles which the Church can follow when we are considering the way forward in the coming months.
The College has tried to consider what can and cannot happen when we eventually come out of lockdown. We recognise this is a piece of work for which we will need to bring together a group with specialist skills to help us.
We are preparing these guidelines for the time when it is clear that returning to our church buildings is possible. We will only put these measures into place after listening to the advice of the Scottish Government and after particular aspects of the worship and practices of our Church are taken into account We are reminded that as Bishop Kevin said in his service of the Eucharist recently, we closed our churches out of love, not out of fear, and we must open them again with that same love and not because of external pressure.
We will continue to ensure that all can worship safely, either at home or in their church building. There will be no pressure on individual churches to reopen before they feel prepared and safe to do so. We have to protect those who would want to return to worship in our buildings, those who would want to come and join us and especially those who will be asked to manage such a safe return.
The guidance we produce will enable each congregation along with their bishop to look at what is needed to open the church building The final decision to open or remain closed will be taken by the diocesan bishop.
“The College of Bishops continues to meet on a weekly basis to discuss these matters. We also continue to maintain close communication with our ecumenical partners

Joint call for prayer to the Good Shepherd

May 1, 2020

The Scottish Episcopal Church joins again with other churches and many thousands of people in Scotland in a Call to Prayer at 7pm on Sunday [3 May], in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Thirteen Christian churches and organisations across the country will take part in the joint prayer to the Good Shepherd who watches over us in this time of uncertainty.

Many of those joining together will also light candles at the time of prayer, which appears below in English and in Gaelic.

In a joint message, church leaders said: “In these challenging days: Is there anyone watching over us who really understands who we are and what we are experiencing at this time?

“The imagery of the Lord as Shepherd and of Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd is woven into the heart of Scripture. The resonance of the ancient, yet immediately present, words of the Psalmist can be sensed, such that even now we can hear those words in the very depths of our being: ‘The Lord is my Shepherd…Even though I walk through the darkest valley…Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me’. (Psalm 23) The imagery is taken up in the Gospel of John where the Good Shepherd watches over us and calls us by our name. He does so because he knows us and knows what we are experiencing at this time. (John 10) Jesus said: ‘I am the good shepherd’.”

And so we pray:

Good Shepherd, watch over us today
In all we face and experience.
Never leave us or forsake us
And journey with us always.
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Good Shepherd, you know us
As no-one else knows us.
Guard us and keep us,
As you guard and keep those whom we love.
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Good Shepherd, we pray for the sick and the lonely;
For the anxious and the bereaved;
For those whose pain is beyond our comprehension.
We stand with them and commend them to your care.
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Good Shepherd, we pray for the carers in hospitals and in homes
And for all who serve the needs of others.
May the example of living compassion
Inspire us in our care for others.
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Good Shepherd, you know the depths of our heart
And the fears which are ours.
Speak into the depths of our heart
And calm our fears.
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Good Shepherd, you know us by our name
And our identity is not hidden from you.
Gather us to yourself as a Shepherd gathers the sheep,
That we might know your Name.
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:
Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
Rt. Rev. Colin Sinclair, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
Rev. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
Rev. Dr David Pickering, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
Rev. May-Kane Logan, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Rev. Jim Ritchie, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)

Online worship on Sundays

As part of the ongoing response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) will this Sunday (22 March) begin broadcasting video coverage of Eucharistic services via its website, social media channels and YouTube channel.  The web page for the broadcast is located at www.scotland.anglican.org/broadcast-sunday-worship

The first service, led by the Most Rev Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, will be broadcast at 11 am on Sunday, to coincide with when many people would normally be worshipping, if church services had not been suspended earlier this week.

The website will also contain a downloadable video and audio format of the service. A new service will be broadcast every Sunday on the SEC website, to allow all congregations to worship. We are aware that some congregations will offer their own version of online worship, but others will not have the means or resource to attempt this, hence this province-wide broadcast.

In advance of the broadcast of each provincial service, the Liturgy will be available to download from the SEC website.  We are conscious of the need to offer as much assistance as possible to those who have no access to the internet, and we encourage people to distribute the video/audio recordings and the Liturgy widely within their own personal networks. In households with no internet or playback capacity, people who can be helped by others through the provision of printed materials will have the opportunity to read the words of the Liturgy to themselves close to the appointed time, praising God along with others in the Church.

“Prayer is an important part of the tradition and spiritual life of the people of God,” said Bishop Mark. “In hard times and good times, quietly being before God with the people we love in our hearts encircles us all in God’s everlasting love and the promise of hope and salvation.”

The service will be available online after its first broadcast, followed by a new one each week, the next at 11 am on Sunday 29 March.

Donald Walker, Director of Communications, Scottish Episcopal Church

National Day of Prayer

Churches in Scotland, including the Scottish Episcopal Church, have joined together to sign a letter commending the Call for a National Day of Prayer in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Sunday 22 March, people of faith are being encouraged to light a candle and place it in their window at 7pm.

The letter, signed by the Primus on behalf of the College of Bishops, asks that we “join in prayerful solidarity with this witness”, describing the candle as “a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, the source of hope in this life”.

A copy of the statement Scottish Church Leaders Forum Statement 190320

Due to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) developing situation and following guidelines issued by the College of Bishops all public worship in Scottish Episcopal Churches has been suspended until further notice.

I am sure you are well aware of the current situation with regard to the Coronavirus and the latest guidance from the Westminster Government and the Scottish Government.
As a result, the College of Bishops yesterday morning announced that all public worship in Scottish Episcopal Churches will be suspended until further notice.

For your information, a copy of the College of Bishop’s guideline can be found at  https://www.scotland.anglican.org/coronavirus-updates/.

Although our churches will remain closed for public worship. Gordon Chapel Fochabers will remain open for private prayer and reflection between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm each day and we will endeavour to maintain this for as long as we can.

During this time prayer will be vital, even if we are not meeting collectivity.

The Scottish Episcopal Church daily prayer can be accessed at https://www.scotland.anglican.org/spirituality/prayer/daily-offices/ and the SEC is exploring the possibility of bringing something to people via technology on a Sunday morning. More details of this will be available in due course.

We will also continue to produce the weekly pew sheet which will be circulated via email or posted on the website. If you would like a copy emailed to you, please to let us know.

Pastoral Care and ministry will continue to take place. If at any time you have any concerns or you would like a conversation then please do not hesitate to contact me on 01542 882782 and I will respond to you.  Please also do keep in contact with each other via phone and other electronic means.

This is a time of uncertainty, and concern for many.  The message of our faith is one of hope.  As John put’s it in the prologue of his gospel “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” Or, as one prayer which I love puts it,

Glory to God,  whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory to God from generation to generation, in the Church and in Christ Jesus, forever and ever. Amen.

In the knowledge of God’s love and grace and in prayer at this time and until we can meet together in person, peace be with you.